Rescue Me: Episode 14
Cracks begin to form in Guseonwon’s foundation as more past secrets are brought to light, causing our heroes to find strength in each other as our villains start to fight amongst themselves. The plans that our heroes have set in motion start to bear fruit, and despite the setbacks they encounter, you know what they say about enemies: The bigger they are, the harder they fall.
EPISODE 14 RECAP
We return to the service hall’s tense confrontation, with Dae-shik wielding canisters of gasoline and a lighter, ready to burn Guseonwon to the ground. Dad tells Sang-mi to stay back, but Dong-chul is the first one to take action as he barrels forward and holds Dae-shik back. As he struggles with Dae-shik, he yells at Dad to get Sang-mi out of the room.
“Why are you here? Are you one of them?” Dae-shik asks angrily when he realizes who it is, but that doesn’t stop him from punching Dong-chul in the face.
Dong-chul pins Dae-shik to the wall and waits for Sang-mi and Dad to exit the hall before he tells Dae-shik, “I’m not one of them!”
“Why are you stopping me then?” Dae-shik roars. Dong-chul reminds him that he’d wanted to live well with his mother, which stills Dae-shik’s rage. “I will destroy this place no matter what. Could you please trust me and go back?” Dong-chul asks imploringly.
At this, Dae-shik stops struggling and staggers against the wall. But when they hear voices from outside the hall approaching, Dong-chul thinks fast, asking desperately for Dae-shik to punch him. When the congregants reach the door, Dae-shik does as Dong-chul asks before sprinting out the side door.
The congregants help Dong-chul up to his feet, and Disciple Jo remarks that Dong-chul is actually quite manly after all. Dong-chul just meekly says that he wanted to be able to protect Spiritual Mother. “You have such a pure soul,” Father Baek remarks. “New Heaven’s God will make great use of you.”
In the boys’ regular bar haunt, Detective Lee walks in to meet up with Sang-hwan. When he sits down, Sang-hwan asks worriedly, “How did it go with the chief of police?”
Detective Lee beats around the bush before disclosing that they the police department can’t do anything without concrete evidence, since they only have rumors about Father Baek’s sexual assault and embezzlement. Sang-hwan protests by rattling off a list of crimes that Father Baek could be arrested for.
“Who is your friend who went into Guseonwon?” Detective Lee asks, instead of responding directly. But Sang-hwan doesn’t want to divulge Dong-chul’s identity and risk putting Dong-chul into danger, and says as much.
Back at Guseonwon, Dong-chul is dismissed back to his room, but he hangs back to eavesdrop as Disciple Jo tells Disciple Kang that the church is getting less offerings these days, and he claims, “If we run out of funds, we’ll have to send those poor people back to the evil world outside.” He tells Disciple Kang to work harder and suggests a revival service.
Displeased, Disciple Kang protests by firing back that it’s Disciple Jo’s fault that Detective Lee is investigating them now. “It’s not salvation that you sought here. You just wanted money. Do you think I don’t know that?” she asks, adding that Jo should leave Guseonwon.
But when she makes to walk away, Disciple Jo holds a hand out to stop her, and his tone turns threatening. He addresses her by her given name: “Eun-shil, you’re biting the hand that fed you. Have you forgotten?”
He angrily grabs Disciple Kang by the throat and backs her into the wall. “Your husband, the man you killed,” he reveals. “I pulled strings so you wouldn’t go to prison for it. And now you’re telling me to leave?”
Disciple Jo’s threat transports Disciple Kang into a flashback, where we see her nervously holding a syringe as she kneels next to the body of her dead husband. She looks up as Disciple Jo and Wan-duk enter the room…
…And then we’re back in the present, as Disciple Kang claims that New Heaven’s God helped her, not Disciple Jo. Disciple Jo spits, “You and [Father Baek] are just cash cows to me. I humor you because it keeps you happy, and you will get money from those people.”
Disciple Kang demands that he let go of her, and he finally does. He asks her if she sees now who really has power here.
The next day, Dong-chul walks into Mom’s room and wakes her up to deliver a message from Sang-mi: “Sang-mi wanted me to tell you that you don’t need to worry about her, and that she wants you to hang in there a little longer.”
Lucid, Mom sits up and says that she needs to go and protect Sang-mi. Dong-chul urges her to focus on recovery and tells her, “You can’t protect Sang-mi when you’re so weak.” He instructs her to keep acting the same as always until they can pull off their plan.
Dong-chul excuses himself to go, but Mom stops him. She wants him to give Sang-mi her butterfly hair clip and adds, “Please tell her that I’m sorry, and that I love her.”
Close to tears himself, Dong-chul promises Mom that she’ll be able to get out of Guseonwon and asks her to hang on a little longer. Mom agrees and cries quietly as Dong-chul leaves.
Dong-chul sneaks down the stairs and into the sanitarium, where he finds medical files for the various residents of Guseonwon. “Why does it say Sang-mi is a patient here?” he wonders quietly when he sees a prescription for depression and a sleep disorder made out to “Sang-mi.”
Disciple Kang locks herself in one of the shacks in the woods as she begins to unravel. She prays for New Heaven’s God to save her as various recent memories flash through her mind, but one becomes especially prominent: She’d followed So-rin out the day she went to her “mother’s birthday,” and had seen someone leaving in a Muji Daily car shortly after So-rin.
In another part of the forest, Sang-mi and So-rin covertly meet up with Dong-chul to look over the patient records that he smuggled out.
So-rin deduces that Guseonwon’s sanitarium has made up fake patients and prescriptions to obtain their drugs, as well as to raise the sanitarium’s grade and funding. She points out Father Baek’s and the sanitarium director’s signatures in the corners of the forms as proof. “But,” Dong-chul asks, “do you think the police will willingly investigate this?”
“It’ll be hard for the police in Muji to get involved,” answers So-rin, but she adds that she has a friend who works at a Seoul broadcasting station. If this cult is exposed on national scale, she says, then the police and prosecution of Muji will have no choice but to investigate. Faced with a ticking clock, So-rin promises to go to Seoul immediately and come back with help.
After she leaves, Sang-mi takes a moment to thank Dong-chul, but he replies, “Don’t thank me. This could only happen because you stood strong.” He then hands Mom’s hairpin to Sang-mi and relays Mom’s message.
Later at night, So-rin boards the Guseonwon van heading out, but before she can leave, she’s called back to see Disciple Kang. She claims that her mom is sick, but she can’t leave without arousing suspicion.
Next we see her, she’s being dragged inside a laundry room by two other congregants. It looks like the jig is up as Disciple Kang starts to rant that there are too many devils inside of Guseonwon.
So-rin stands stunned as Disciple Kang reveals that she found out that before entering Guseonwon, So-rin was a news reporter at Muji Daily, not a student as she’d claimed. “Disciple Kang, please let me explain,” So-rin stutters.
“You filthy creature,” Disciple Kang scoffs. “I cannot stand you. How can you be so brazen before New Heaven’s God?” She then commands the two women to stuff So-rin’s head into the running washing machine.
“Who else is a devil in disguise trying to destroy Guseonwon like you?” Disciple Kang demands to know, as So-rin screams with her head under water. As the women continue to hold her there, Disciple Kang swears to get rid of every devil in Guseonwon.
Later, during the service, Father Baek announces, “Today is the day that our soon-to-be Spiritual Mother is going to share what she’s learned through her spiritual training with our believers and her mother.” He also claims that she should be able to “speak the language of paradise” if she’s accepted her training properly.
As Dad wheels Mom into the hall, Mom gives Sang-mi a small, almost imperceptible nod. Dad tells Mom to see how faithful their daughter has become, while Sang-mi picks up a microphone and addresses the audience: “I believe in you, New Heaven’s God, who has granted me life. You have brought our family here and enabled us to meet Spiritual Father. And I believe that the hardship you gave to my brother, Sang-jin, and to my mother, was all part of your grand plan to make me become Spiritual Mother.”
Kneeling on the ground, Sang-mi begins “speaking in tongues” in a spiritual ululation that involves calling out to Father Baek. She continues the service to the adoration and cheering of the audience, but for Mom and Dong-chul, it’s a heartbreaking sight, and Mom cries openly.
Meanwhile, in a dark room, Wan-duk force-feeds a barely lucid So-rin a pill, according to Disciple Kang’s instructions.
Outside, Father Baek and Disciple Kang pull out Sang-mi’s faked medical chart, and Father Baek says that they should start testing Sang-mi to see if she’s truly capable of becoming Spiritual Mother.
In their friend’s room, Man-hee wonders why Jung-hoon hasn’t come back yet, mentioning that he’s also been unable to reach him. Just then, the deliveryman walks in with their food and asks after Jung-hoon. “He was going somewhere on a church van yesterday,” he says, and Man-hee and Sang-hwan realize with dawning horror that Jung-hoon has been kidnapped.
Sang-hwan quickly texts Dong-chul and asks him to find Jung-hoon. Bursting out of the bathroom stall where he usually hides his phone, Dong-chul comes face-to-face with Disciple Jo, who seems suspicious enough of Dong-chul that he walks into the stall after Dong-chul leaves.
He sticks his hand behind the toilet, but it’s unclear whether or not he’s found anything as he says, “I can’t believe this guy.”
As Dong-chul walks out of the bathroom and along the hallway, he suddenly remembers the muffled grunts he’d heard when he followed Disciple Jo and Wan-duk to the “prayer room” located in one of the outdoor shacks.
He sprints outside, but has to duck behind a tree when he catches sight of Wan-duk with So-rin slung over his shoulder, followed by Disciple Kang. Having wisely kept his phone after all, Dong-chul calls for reinforcements: Man-hee and Sang-hwan, who commandeer their friend’s delivery van to drive to Guseonwon.
Back at the outdoor prayer dungeon, Disciple Jo and Wan-duk enter a cell and survey a man’s still body, with Disciple Jo holding his nose at the smell. Wan-duk motions for them to remove the body like this is a normal occurrence, and Disciple Jo coolly orders him to bring the tools.
Outside of Guseonwon’s gates, Man-hee and Sang-hwan steel their nerves as they cut the lock and enter Guseonwon, using the hand-drawn map they made earlier.
In the forest, Wan-duk digs a grave while Disciple Jo rants, “I’m always doing the dirty work for Guseonwon. How dare [Disciple Kang] try to kick me out when she should be thanking me?” He lets Wan-duk know that the grave is deep enough now, and as Wan-duk buries the body, Disciple Jo nonchalantly complains that he’s hungry.
Meanwhile, Sang-mi is led into the empty service hall and finds Father Baek and Disciple Kang waiting for her with So-rin, who sways unsteadily on her feet. Father Baek asks Sang-mi if she knows who So-rin is and whispers, “She’s no longer the helper you thought she was. She’s a devil who’s trying to destroy your soul. Did you get blinded by this woman?”
Eyes wide, Sang-mi answers in the negative, and claims that she didn’t know that So-rin was a reporter.
But Father Baek wants her to prove it by carrying out a “fire prayer” for So-rin. So-rin, who has been shaking this whole time, suddenly asks Sang-mi to save her as she devolves into tears.
When Sang-mi hesitates, Dad encourages Sang-mi to hurry up and kick the devil out of So-rin. But what finally prompts Sang-mi to actually begin the “prayer” is when So-rin risks exposing their whole plan by saying, “Your mother also wants you to—…”
“You dirty devil!” Sang-mi shrieks, striking So-rin’s back while she cries. “With the fire of New Heaven’s God… with his hot fire, I command you, the dirty devil, to get lost!”
Back at the service hall, Dong-chul pokes his head in at the commotion and reports that he saw some “weird guys” sneaking in, giving Sang-hwan and Man-hee’s physical descriptions.
Disciple Kang and Dad run out of the hall, recruiting Disciple Jo and Wan-duk in their pursuit of Man-hee and Sang-hwan along the way as they all run toward the woods.
Meanwhile, Sang-hwan and Man-hee find Jung-hoon’s cell in the dungeon and break him out. Supporting Jung-hoon, who’s bloody and bruised, they stagger out, but they change escape routes when they hear the sound of approaching voices.
As Sang-mi, Father Baek, and Dong-chul walk out of the church, they see the three boys, and Dong-chul immediately gives chase. He catches up to them at the car and screams out that he’s caught them—but to Sang-hwan, he mutters for him to hurry up and punch him. Sang-hwan complies, and gives him a kick in the chest to boot.
They drive out, leaving Dong-chul on the ground and their pursuers behind. In the car, Jung-hoon says he finally realizes how Guseonwon will ruin everyone in Muji if they don’t stop them. “I’m so grateful that I have you guys,” Sang-hwan says, his voice shaking.
In Father Baek’s office, Dad thanks Dong-chul for catching the boys, but Father Baek doesn’t seem fully convinced that Dong-chul’s tendency to be in the right place at the right time is pure coincidence.
Nonetheless, he calls Dong-chul a “blessed gatekeeper of Guseonwon,” and Dong-chul thanks him for this new sacred duty. Just then, Disciple Jo walks in, and Father Baek sends Dad to take Sang-mi to her room while Disciple Kang and Dong-chul are sent to prepare for the night worship.
As they walk in the hallway, Sang-mi claims that she has received a divine revelation from New Heaven’s God. After asking for Living Water from Dad, she faces Dong-chul and silently mouths, “All of them.” Then, audibly, she thanks Dong-chul as she anoints his head with the water.
Back in Father Baek’s office, Father Baek asks Disciple Jo why he brought in Jung-hoon, which caused demons to enter Guseonwon. Disciple Jo, sprawled out on the couch, challenges Father Baek to ask New Heaven’s God for the answer directly.
“This is all because of you,” Disciple Jo complains. “They’re digging up your past and broadcasting it on the internet.” But when he suggests leaving Muji for a new target location, Father Baek just says that his wedding with Sang-mi is coming up soon.
Disciple Jo asks exasperatedly if Father Baek is insane, offering to find him some girl other than Sang-mi among the believers to mess around with instead, since even he doesn’t know why Baek is so obsessed with Sang-mi. “Disciple Kang was right,” interrupts Father Baek. “She said demons have filled up this place at some point.”
“Are you talking about me?” Disciple Jo asks in disbelief. Father Baek: “Those who have lost their faith are no longer the children of New Heaven’s God. Disciple Jo, please leave us now.”
Disciple Jo stands up, rage simmering under the surface. He decides that Father Baek has really lost it now, declaring, “You lunatic. You’ve been convicted of fraud eight times. Prisoner 6100, that’s who you really are, you crazy jerk. You creeped and crawled to me like a dog. Have you forgotten it?” He picks up a paperweight on the table as if to hit Father Baek with it, but Father Baek only taunts, “Hit me. If you hit me, do you think you will get everything you want?”
He sighs as he adds, “The prisoner you knew in the past died already. I am the father of all spirits who will lead you to paradise.” At this, a muscle in Disciple Jo’s jaw jumps, but he tosses the object back on the table, standing down.
In Sang-mi’s room, Sang-mi suddenly requests to see Mom. Though Dad initially refuses, Sang-mi has an ace up her sleeve and claims again that New Heaven’s God showed her a divine revelation: “He said that I have to be with her when I pray for her. If I do, she will be free from her illness, and I will truly become Spiritual Mother.”
Meanwhile, Dong-chul and Disciple Kang walk to the service hall, but Dong-chul excuses himself to go to the bathroom again. When Disciple Kang turns her back, Dong-chul turns and walks out of another door, determination written on his face.
Safely outside of Guseonwon, the bumpkin biker gang (minus Dong-chul) meets up with Detective Lee, who wants to know why they brought a still-bloody Jung-hoon to him instead of the hospital.
“We’ll take him to the city, but we want to ask you for a favor first,” replies Sang-hwan. “They abduct, confine, and beat people to death. I need to get my friends out of there as soon as possible.”
Detective Lee starts to give an excuse, but Sang-hwan interrupts him: “Stop blaming the lack of evidence, the hierarchy, and the fact that it’s a religious organization. Even a dead body has been found. When will the police get involved?”
Detective Lee protests that no one in Muji can do anything without Sang-hwan’s dad’s permission, but Sang-hwan doggedly persists, saying that they’ll press charges against Guseonwon for assault, coercion, abduction, and confinement.
“My dad won’t be able to stop me if the media takes interest in it,” Sang-hwan says. When Sang-hwan hints that breaking open this case could be Detective Lee’s way out of Muji, Detective Lee finally agrees to the plan.
When Man-hee asks Sang-hwan what he’ll do if his dad tries to stop them, Sang-hwan says that he’ll press charges against him too, since he’s aware that a son pressing charges against his own father will pique the media’s interest.
Dong-chul watches Wan-duk toss an unconscious So-rin into a Guseonwon van. Once the van starts driving away, he starts running after the van, but he gets distracted by an incoming text message from Sang-hwan: “Dong-chul, Jung-hoon is fine. I’ll raid that place with the police tomorrow no matter what, so I hope you and Sang-mi can stay strong until then.”
In Mom’s room, Mom weakly pushes herself up to a sitting position upon seeing Sang-mi walk in. Thankfully, Mom plays along in front of Dad and continues to act befuddled as she claims that she’s in paradise.
Sang-mi begins to pour out some Living Water but drops the vial, which shatters on the floor. When Dad exclaims at the Living Water being priceless, she apologizes and asks Dad to get another vial for her.
As soon as he leaves, Mom grabs Sang-mi’s arm and asks if she’s really okay. “This must be so hard for you. I’m sorry,” Mom apologizes. “I should have come to my senses a lot sooner.” But Sang-mi strokes her hair as she says that Guseonwon is at fault, not Mom.
They share an emotional moment as Sang-mi tells Mom to stay strong for just a little longer: “I have friends who are helping me. And I’m not weak. I’m your daughter, you know.” They embrace, and Mom strokes Sang-mi’s hair affectionately.
In a dark room, Wan-duk ties So-rin down to a bed. When he leaves, her eyelids flutter open, and once she’s conscious of her situation, she begins to struggle and scream against her gag.
Walking out of the sanitarium, Sang-mi slips away from Dad to meet Dong-chul in the bathroom. Speaking to her from inside the stall, Dong-chul tells her that Guseonwon caught So-rin, but that he’s not sure where they took her. Sang-mi says that she thinks she knows where So-rin is: “In the basement, there’s a separate ward where they confine patients that have caused problems.”
Outside of the police station, Jung-hoon sits in the delivery van, and watches his father from afar, his face still bruised and bloody. The sight takes him back to a memory of him livestreaming in front of Guseonwon: Upon spying a police cruiser coming, he had decided to hide in the bushes, but what he ended up capturing was none other than his own father accepting a bribe from Disciple Jo and acting chummy with him.
Back in the dark room, Disciple Kang looms over So-rin, syringe in hand. “You probably want to say that this place is fake, but it’s real,” she gloats. “I’ll make it real.”
So-rin shakes her head as Disciple Kang promises to deliver an injection that will make So-rin delusional enough to believe that she’s in paradise. But she’s interrupted by someone: It’s Dong-chul, and when he remains silent in the face of Disciple Kang’s questioning, she attempts to stab him with the needle.
In the ensuing struggle, Dong-chul makes it so that she injects herself with the drug, causing her to pass out.
Dong-chul and So-rin run outside, and after a moment to catch their breath, Dong-chul points out a direction in the woods that So-rin should go to meet up with Sang-hwan, who will help her. So-rin promises to come back, then staggers off into the woods.
In his mom’s hospital room, Sang-hwan calls Dong-chul to say that Jung-hoon is fine and at the hospital. Likewise, Dong-chul reports that everything’s fine on his end before asking Sang-hwan to meet So-rin at Muji Creek and take her to their friend’s apartment.
Sang-hwan tells Dong-chul that they’re going to raid Guseonwon tomorrow, thanks to the new evidence of Jung-hoon getting beaten up. “They won’t be able to get out of it,” he says. “You just need to hold out tonight.”
Sang-hwan leaves, just missing his mother showing more signs of life: Her mouth moves, trying to form words, and she grasps for the phone(?) next to her hand.
While Sang-hwan rides his motorcycle to Muji Creek, So-rin sprints out of the woods. Seeing headlights, she waves a car down in relief, but soon realizes her mistake—it’s a Guseonwon van, and So-rin whimpers when Disciple Jo steps out of it, triumphant to have found her. She tries to make a run for it, but Disciple Jo grabs her hair and drags her away.
Too late, Sang-hwan makes it to the appointed meeting place, but he doesn’t see anyone there. He answers when his phone vibrates with an incoming call, and his mom’s voice calls his name weakly.
“Mom?” Sang-hwan asks, and his mom weakly answers, “Yes, it’s me.”
So, very interesting. Family has definitely always been a focus of this show, but it seems like mothers in particular are now coming to the forefront. Sang-mi and Sang-hwan’s moms are both waking up, albeit in slightly different ways. Hopefully, neither husband is forgiven for their breaches of trust and their willingness to keep their wives in the dark.
At first glance, it seems like our protagonists’ plans were not well-coordinated, but they’re actually meshing nicely to form a cohesive master plan in their effort to take down Guseonwon. In fact, it’s clever that they have multiple ways to take down Guseonwon, in case one plan goes awry or Guseonwon tries to figure out and stop one of their plans.
Dong-chul acts as insider support for the other plans and greases the wheels of their operations, while Sang-mi’s role is both to make Guseonwon believe that she’s going along with their salvation plan and act as the central unit for the group inside of Guseonwon. Sang-hwan is our primary agent outside of Guseonwon, and he gives the group the legal, political, and media clout that’s necessary to fully destroy Guseonwon. There’s a lot of moving parts involved, and our heroes are doing a good job of juggling them all.
It’s really heartening to see how Sang-hwan in particular has matured. It isn’t that he’s put his connections to his past behind him—far from it—but he’s been able to turn those memories and regrets into stepping stones for his current actions, and he is very clearly learning from his past mistakes. In addition, even though he’s cut off his connections with his father, he knows that his father plays a huge role in his life and the town, and he is able to use that relationship to leverage his own purposes for the greater good.
The continuity with Jung-hoon’s livestream is also a well done and useful part of the story. The livestream is a plot device that not only gave the heroes some information about the cult’s past in another city, but it also created believable conflict when Disciple Jo used it to lure and capture Jung-hoon.
In that vein, it would be really easy for our heroes to feel continually outmaneuvered by Guseonwon, but I’m really impressed with how they’ve managed to stay ahead of the game through a combination of quick thinking, lucky breaks, and a well-timed punch here and there.
I also enjoy the setup of the villains getting impaled on their own swords, so to speak. It’s clearly meant to be ironic that Disciple Kang was injected with her own drug, with poison being a key part of her character. As for Disciple Jo, it’s been shown over and over again that he’s so greedy for money that he keeps attracting trouble and attention to Guseonwon. And the fact that he and Wan-duk keep killing people left and right and burying them in the woods is surely going to come around and bite them back.
Father Baek, of course, is caught by vices of his own. He feeds off of people’s desires and religious beliefs, preying on various women along the way, and now he’s about to pay the price. Finding out one by one that each of our major enemies have these weak spots to strike at is pretty delicious, considering that they made themselves out to be the ultimate judges of sin and goodness.
There’s some plot threads that I don’t see being pulled into the resolution, like Dong-chul’s mentor’s grudge, or Sang-hwan’s dad’s power play with the other Muji political officials. I’m actually glad that they haven’t become big issues at this point, especially since we’re near the end, because I didn’t find those parts of the show nearly as captivating as the struggles of the show’s younger generation. It’s good that the show is sticking to what it does best, which is the action from our core group of friends and allies.
Meanwhile, the pieces of their plan are still falling into place, and I’m sure that our heroes can make a comeback despite the recapture of So-rin. This may be the toughest night of their lives yet: There are still two episodes to see how it all shakes out, but I’ll buckle in for the ride and hope that I don’t run into a Guseonwon van on the way.
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